Most of us have only seen speed dating in movies and TV, where it’s portrayed as possibly the most godawful experience on the planet. It makes sense, though. It’s easy to make a joke out of a quick interaction with a weird character we never have to see again. But in real life, that kind of makes it exciting.
Here’s the lowdown on what speed dating is like for real people:
###1. How does it actually work? An equal number of men and women (usually 10 – 12) sit down at a table, armed with a name tag and a piece of paper. You meet someone, you talk for 5 minutes, and afterward you circle “yes” if you liked them or “no” if you didn’t. If you both circle yes, you get each others’ contact information in an email the next day. Sounds relatively painless, right?
2. And that’s fun for you? Totally! You get to make snap judgements on people (we’re humans, we all love to judge and you know it), and you also get to meet a ton of interesting people you never would otherwise. Last week I went speed dating and I met two Australians who had only been in the country for five days, a soldier who finished his service in Afghanistan three days earlier, and a guy who works for Time Warner and was afraid I would hold that against him (I didn’t. Well. Maybe a little…).
3. So… what makes that different from online dating? When you date online, you pre-screen. You scrutinize over little things. “This person’s profile looks awesome but… oh. They love to watch reruns of ‘Making the Band?’ It can never work.” Speed dating gives you the chance to meet people who are also looking for a date, but instead of learning everything about them up front, you have a conversation with them and see if you get along. So you’re not brushing someone off for some interest they have that probably wouldn’t even effect your relationship with them, you’re getting a slight glimpse at whether or not you might actually enjoy their company.
4. But I like pre-screening and scrutinizing! I deserve someone who is up to my standards. It’s good to have standards. Online dating can be a lot of fun, and can yield some great results. But sometimes it makes us forget that meeting people with different interests and different backgrounds is fun and exciting. I would never have looked twice at someone who was in the military when perusing dating sites, assuming we were too different. But meeting him in person, I found him fascinating and really enjoyed our conversation.
I would never have looked twice at someone who was in the military when perusing dating sites, assuming we were too different.
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